Friday, October 26, 2007

We are failing

It is finally time for our bathroom remodel. Our current main bathroom if 5'x20'. Yes, you read that right. It is a bowling alley. We have decided it would be far more functional as two bathrooms, one 5x9' and one 5x11'. Why are we failing? We can't find fixtures that meet any of our needs.

We went to a high end showroom recommended by our plumbing company. Their bid for what we want - $10,000. Yeah. So not happening.

We spent a good portion of today wandering the warehouses at Second Chance architectural salvage. We thought for sure we would be able to find a good chunk of our materials there. First off, they are the outlet for Yorktown Cabinetry. We were so hoping to find ourselves two nice, overstocked vanities. Unfortunately, we struck out. Dismally. Then we went looking around at other stuff. In short, there was nothing there that met our needs (either color, style or price). For example, sure, they had a pallet of brand new Toto toilets for $250. But, I can get a perfectly good toilet for $100 at Lowes. So do we pay over twice as much for a surplus product that supports a good cause, or make our wallets happy when a Kholer toilet from Lowes?

Vanities are another issue. I really wish Ikea had quality bathroom cabinetry. Their kitchen cabinets are great, but their bathroom, not so much. At least with Ikea, they use sustainable harvesting methods for most products. Bah!

So, I think we went end up buying most of our bathroom stuff online or from an annoying big box, simply because our budget is not allowing high end stuff, and the salvage place isn't meeting out needs. At least the floor tile came from a Habitat for Humanity surplus auction. I guess I can feel good about that.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A post for women only

If you are a man, stop reading. Now. I mean it. NOW! If you keep reading, you will regret it. If you are a women, but squeamish about that monthly visitor, you should probably stop reading, too.

Since moving into a house with a (brand new!) septic system, I have become acutely aware of the waste created by my monthly female cycle. See, when you have a septic system, it is VERY bad to flush your tampons. They don't decompose, instead, they just float in the tank until it is pumped. And that assumes they don't sneak through the baffles and clog up your drain field. So, I bought myself a nice little trash can with a tight fitting lid. I kept it next to the toilet. I lined it with a plastic grocery bag, and, for one week a month, used it to dispose of my female grossness. Suffice to say, this solution was not the best. It was gross, very gross. It would smell if it wasn't empties regularly (and then just transferring the smell to the garage trash can). But mostly, seeing this made me realize just how wasteful it can be to be a female. I had thought I was doing the best I could when I switched to O.B. without the applicator. But, I decided it wasn't enough.

Enter the menstrual cup. I must admit, I had heard about these maybe 10+ years ago, but I always second guessed myself because it seemed, well, gross. The first time I heard about cups, I believe it was the one called The Keeper. It was expensive, and I wasn't sure I would like it. I tried Instead when they first came out, but I found them uncomfortable, and it seemed even more wasteful than tampons. But now, with the gross trash can issue mentioned above, it seemed like it was time to finally get up the nerve and try a cup again. Enter The Diva Cup. I picked it mostly because it seemed to be the cheapest one I could find.

I am now 3 days into my first month using it, and I am finally in love. There were some growing pains getting use to it, but I found the information at LiveJournals's menstrual cup support group invaluable! Most importantly, I learned that most everyone has some issues at first, and that the instructions that came with the Diva were not the only method of insertion. Since trying some of the other folds, I can now get it in and out quickly and easily (the first day, this was NOT the case). Its still a bit messy, but not terrible. And far less bad than a bag of 3 day old tampons.

I figure after 4 months of not buying tampons and pads, the Diva will have paid for itself financially, plus I will no longer be disposing of 20+ tampons per month.

Now... about my love of toilet paper...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Attic insulator

Our attic stairs don't quite fit properly into the ceiling, creating massive drafts. So Wirenut built a very cool insulator to fit over the top. Its hinged to flip up easily, and wrapped in R12 batting insulation. The inside is lined with R4 foam insulation. I found things like this online for $50 to $150. This one was built for under $20. The basic plans we used can be found here.

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